The Via Consolare Project in Pompeii
Field Season 2012
During the summer of 2012 with the kind permission of the Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei and with great assistance from Prof.ssa Cinquantaquattro, Dott. A. Varone, Dott.ssa G. Stefani, V. Sabini, and G. Di Martino, members of the Via Consolare Project conducted archaeological investigations in Insula VII 6 as a part of our on-going research into the chronology, urban development, and utilization of the properties along the Via Consolare, the area of the Villa delle Colonne a mosaico, and especially Insula VII 6.
Research carried out this summer focused on sub-surface excavation in Insula VII 6, specifically at the north end of the former peristyle of the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus and the eastern wall of the Casa di Pamphilus Felix, including the complete recording of all recovered artefacts and ecofacts at pace with excavation. Also undertaken was further analysis of standing structures, including 3D topographic survey of the northern side of the Terme del Foro and continued 3D surface capture via Structure from Motion (SfM) technologies that eventually will facilitate the construction of a complete 3D model of all research areas.
The main goals of this season’s archaeological research were the following:
1. Assessment of the state of preservation of AD 79 remains in the western half of the peristyle of Tyrannus Secundus Fortunatus.1
2. Excavation at the eastern boundary wall of the Casa di Pamphilus Felix,2 in order to locate the back wall of the property and to establish whether or not it belonged to the earliest phase of the property constructed in opus africanum (type A) (found in the frontage and the southern wall of Room 25).
3. Provision of a date for the earliest walls in opus africanum (type A), dated by Peterse to between c. 450-420 BC,3 but not yet tested within Insula VII 6 via excavation.
4. Complete 3D recording of excavated deposits using open-source Structure from Motion (SfM) technologies to provide a complete volumetric 3D record of the excavation.
5. Processing, Recording, and analysis of pottery, small finds, and ecofacts recovered from the current trench in order to provide immediate chronological feedback and to speed the process of publication.
6. Further 3D topographic survey of the Terme del Foro and continuing 3D surface capture also employing SfM technologies to record nearby wall surfaces.
The summer of 2012 witnessed the successful completion of nearly all of these goals. Excavation produced significant traces of AD 79 and earlier 1st c. AD remains, having survived not only exposure after original clearance in 1910, but also the bombing in 1943. As we have noted in our recent publication in Fasti Online,4 the walls of Insula VII 6 appear to have been the recipients of the majority of damage from bombing, while subsurface remains have survived largely intact. Evidence of only two two points of impact were discovered within the area of the trench, one on the western side of our excavations, and the other just at the north-east corner of the area. Remains of floors, brick columns, a stylobate, and peristyle drain were recorded extensively, many for the first time. Excavations through the poorly-preserved areas of these surfaces revealed that the primary eastern property wall of the early Casa di Pamphilus Felix had been originally situated considerably to the east of what had been known previously. Two newly discovered rooms from earlier phases testify to a much more extensive history of change in the Casa di Pamphilus Felix that occurred after its original foundation, but prior to its current arrangement. The later transferral of these rooms to the garden of the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus attests to a much more complicated history of development and interaction between the three major properties of the block than has been appreciated, and supports many of our preliminary conclusions regarding the development and chronology of the insula published in our recent article.5
Our excavations also uncovered two small sections of foundation trenches for the earliest walls of the Casa di Pamphilus Felix: one, the southern boundary of the property, and the other, against an internal wall. While the amount of material produced from both was relatively small and did not produce a date, it may yet be possible to recover a larger section of the same foundation trench in coming years, since it is now clear that the walls of the Casa di Pamphilus Felix, including its early opus africanum ‘A’ walls, extended to the east and into the area of the peristyle garden in the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus. Further investigations in coming years may provide a greater amount of material to provide a data for this important wall construction technique.
Throughout our excavations in 2012, each stratigraphic unit, feature, wall, and pavement was recorded in sub-centimetric three-dimensional detail using the open-source structure from motion technologies, continuing the VCP's pioneering of the technique in Pompeii since in 2010. Once processed, these 3D point clouds and meshes will be coordinated into a complete, three-dimensional model of the excavation, including all sub-surface deposits, features, and surfaces at an unprecedented level of detail.
Archaeological Area AA006
A large (11m by 5m) trench, defined as Archaeological Area 006 (AA006), was opened in the north-western corner of the former peristyle of the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus, an area now nearly devoid of standing remains, with the exception of two short lengths of wall defining the area of a small room on the western side of the peristyle (Room 7). The adjoining southern wall of this room, clearly dating from an earlier phase, is distinguished by traces of construction in opus africanum (Peterse’s type A). The trench extended from the southern wall northward, including the entirety of Room 7 and half of the area once occupied by a small exedra (Room 5) opening onto the same peristyle. Inside the peristyle, the trench continued roughly a metre to the south of the doorway into Room 7 and two meters to the east into the former peristyle. On the west, the trench was terminated directly over the final-phase eastern wall of the Casa di Pamphilus Felix, as the discovery and survey of this now-buried wall was one of the primary objectives of the 2012 field season. With the completion of our excavations in AA006, it is possible to integrate our results into the architectural sequence that we have developed through analysis of the walls in previous years.6 The discoveries of the 2012 season have revolutionized our understanding of this area and although they do fit neatly into the sequence as already understood, they have provided data on exciting and valuable new insights into the development of Insula VII 6 that range from its earliest human activities and culminate in the years immediately prior to the eruption itself.
Phase 1 – Natural Soils and Early Inter-Plinian Eruptive Deposits
A rich brown silty soil, devoid of human artefacts, was found at a depth of approximately 2m underlying all anthropogenic strata in the area of both Room 5 and 7 in AA006. In both instances, it was found to be topped by a layer of greyish brown silt with coarse sand sized inclusions that was also discovered in our excavations in AA001. Silt of this variety has been documented in other areas of the city, notably in Insula VI 1, and the Casa degli Epigrammi Greci.7 At depth in Room 7, the silt was also topped by a fine-medium sand, dark brown-black in colouration at a linear abuttment with the earliest human deposits, which probably cut down through these early layers. Traces of the same deposit, having been disturbed and churned with the natural and greyish silts, were found underlying the earliest pavement in room 5, and it seems likely that the upper parts of the sequence were truncated by its creation at a later date. Both the greyish silt and the black-grey sand likely result from air-fall from the last of the ‘interplinian’ eruptions of Vesuvius to have reached Pompeii. During the coming year and next summer, the Project hopes to identify precisely which of the interplinian eruptions may have been the cause for these deposits in Insula VII 6. Should they be found to date from any period during the 5th c. ‘gap’ in evidence from Pompeii,8 they would lend support for an idea of abandonment of the area of the ‘altstadt’ suggested by Coarelli,9 and might even suggest a possible contributing factor to a partial abandonment of the city. For this reason, the precise relationship between the earliest remains and these soils, recovered in only a small sondage in the middle of Room 7 and at considerable depth, must be explored by continued investigation into the garden of the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus planned for the summer of 2013.
Phase 2 – Earliest Deposits
Signs of the first human activities recovered from the area of AA006 were situated in the centre of Room 7 under the earliest preserved opus signinum flooring of a subsequent phase. This relatively well-preserved later floor limited the area available for further excavation to a small sondage where damage from several ancient post-holes had cut through the later flooring sufficiently to warrant sub-surface exploration. Within the area of the sondage was found a rather straight line of abutting soils, seemingly the result of a cut aligned with the walls of Casa di Pamphilus Felix, that had cut directly into the top surface of the black-grey sands of the previous phase.10 This cut was filled with a sticky, grey silty-clay that contained bones and ashy residues to a sufficient depth that it was not possible to reach the bottom without widening the area of excavation. At the top of the fill, on its eastern side and seemingly in situ, the base of a dolium of a strange and extremely coarse fabric was recovered, paired with a tile of an apparently unrelated fabric. Below this at considerable depth (approx. 2.5m), a block of ‘pappamonte’ stone was observed, plunging below the fill of the cut and largely out of the area available for excavation.
These deposits currently defy an entirely-satisfying explanation, but it seems clear that they must relate to some of the earliest phases of the Casa di Pamphilus Felix (prior to the currently standing walls), and therefore support the supposed antiquity of this structure, even if they do not provide direct evidence for the date of its opus africanum ‘A’ style walls. If the ‘pappamonte’ stone recovered did not form a part of the bedrock underlying the insula and instead is to be seen as a component of a structure, then it represents the earliest remains recovered in Insula VII 6 to date. Unfortunately, the very small area open for excavation made the precise determination of the relationships between these deposits difficult, and it remains an outside possibility that the ‘interplinian’ deposits (grey silt, black sand) fell against an early feature that only appeared to be a later cut due to the restricted area visible for interpretation.
Given the limited information available, it seems plausible that what was recovered in AA006 represents a small component of an early garden or outdoor space to the east of structures situated beneath the current walls of the Casa di Pamphilus Felix. The dolium may have been one of a number of such vessels situated just outside of the built-up area of the plot for storage after the manner of later villae rusticae such as at Boscoreale. Although this interpretation pre-supposes a hypothetical contemporary structure to the west, such a reconstruction is not entirely unlikely, and may be supported by the nature of the fill itself, which possibly derived from some sort of domestic refuse. The layout of the plot itself might also suggest such a situation, if the width of the property was the same measurement used to lay out the distance to its original back wall (i.e. if the structure were originally roughly square). The reuse of ‘pappamonte’ blocks in the western perimeter wall of the Casa della Diana (VII 6, 3.4)11 to the north (on Vico del Farmacista), also lends support to the idea of an earlier phase of ‘pappamonte’ walls that may have been replaced by the opus africanum ‘A’ phase of the house visible today in its earliest masonry. Unfortunately, since the deposits associated with this earliest phase did not produce pottery useful for precise dating, it is difficult to be certain of when this phase may have taken place. It is clear that this phase occurred prior to the earliest-dated floors recovered in our excavations, which date to the mid-second century. However, the opus africanum A phase of the structure probably also pre-dates this by no small amount of time. It is conceivable therefore that these remains should be dated along with other ‘pappamonte’ constructions, to the mid 6th c. BC, if they relate to similar finds elsewhere in the city. It is hoped that further explorations to the east may recover more of these early deposits in 2013.
Phase 3 – Casa di Pamphilus Felix – Opus Africanum ‘A’ Phase
Recovery of dating for the earliest visible stone construction of the Casa di Cipius Pamphilus Felix was one of the primary objectives of the 2012 excavation season. The location of trench AA006 was determined partially by the remains of an early wall of this type now visible on the southern side of Room 7. While it ultimately proved impossible to excavate against this particular wall due to the interference of well-preserved earlier flooring and the depth of excavation that would have been necessary in order to reach the foundation fills (a fact proven by the depth of the two early pavements recovered to the north of this area, cf. infra), nevertheless builders’ trenches were recovered for two walls that were probably built during the same construction phase. Both of these walls, equally constructed in opus africanum (likely of type A), defined areas of an earlier phase of this house that were previously entirely unknown, and certainly derived from either the initial layout of the property or its first period of alteration.
The first foundation trench recovered was a narrow (10cm) cut running to the north of a fragment of opus africanum wall preserved at depth under the later pavement of the peristyle of the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus. These fragments connected to the visible section of opus africanum ‘A’ construction visible in the southern wall of Room 7, and seem to have been the continuation of the original southern boundary of the property having extended further to the east than had formerly been known. Precisely how far to the east this wall originally ran is not yet known, but will be researched further in the summer of 2013 via excavations in the centre of the garden. Though largely removed by later renovations and subsequently buried, a deep foundation trench created for the construction of this wall was clearly visible and excavated completely. Unfortunately no datable material was recovered from its fill, but it is clear that it was filled with residue left over from the creation of the wall itself, including blocks of Sarno stone shaped appropriately for type ‘A’ construction and traces of yellow earthen mortar.
The second foundation trench recovered in AA006 was accessible in only a small section of exposed area under the earlier pavements recovered in Room 7. The cut and fill was situated against an opus africanum wall on the western side of the room, below the pavement of Phase 4 and to the south of an earlier doorway. While it is presently not possible to be entirely certain that this wall does not represent a component of a secondary expansion or alteration to the original property layout, it is clear that it occurred prior to any of changes of the following phases. Unfortunately, this foundation trench also produced no datable materials that might resolve the question of whether this wall was a contemporary construction with the southern boundary wall of the Casa di Cipius Pamphilus Felix, or provide the age of the property as a whole. The wall itself however, which underlay the later eastern boundary wall of the house, reveals clearly that earlier phases of the Casa di Cipius Pamphilus Felix were considerably larger than the final-phase house.
Phase 4 – Earliest Attested Decoration in Pampilius Felix Rooms under Rooms 5 and 7
That the first decorative scheme of the Casa di Pamphilus Felix was executed in the First Style is clear from remains preserved in Room 29. This room contains well-preserved traces of First Style wall painting in its upper zone, including stucco isodomic courses and fragments of a stucco entablature.12 The pavement of this room is also clearly a relic of the First Style, with polychrome fragments of irregular marble arranged without pattern or symmetry across the surface. Both the central emblema (once of a fish, now lost, dated to c. 80-70 BC)13 and the walls appear to have been reworked during the period of the Second Style. The western, southern and northern walls were redecorated in the middle zone with similar isodomic courses on a flat surface that do not align with the previous design, but match it in theme and overall impression. (Even later imitations of the 2nd Style are present on the southern side of the western wall, plausibly executed at an even later date during another period of change).
Dating from roughly the same time as these changes were two rooms, hereafter referred to as Room α (north) and Room β (south), recovered at depth within the area of AA006, and stratigraphically below the later Room 7, Room 5 and the peristyle of the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus. These rooms were delineated by buried walls roughly half a metre in height with well-preserved wall plaster and largely intact opus signinum floors, situated at roughly the same elevation as the pavement in the main hall of the Casa di Cipius Pamphilus Felix (actually ~5cm below the final phase level in that house). Room α appears to have opened directly onto the area to the west and was likely roughly 3-4m in width, although the northern extent lay outside of the excavated area of AA006. The direct connection between Room α and the Casa di Cipius Pamphilus Felix had been broken by later interventions in the area that separated off the space from the house by means of a long wall running north-south. In addition, bombing in 1943 destroyed this wall, leaving a crater of churned ancient and modern material in the area more than 2m thick that collapsed into the lower level of the Casa di Cipius Pamphilus Felix due to its lower elevation. Traces of the western boundary wall, found roughly in situ but clearly disturbed by the violence of the explosion, were recovered in the north-western corner of AA006, but no direct relationships survived. To the east, the room was truncated by a later structure (cf. infra), meaning that further investigations will be necessary in order to determine its complete eastward extent. In its final phase, Room α was paved with a thick (roughly 10cm) layer of opus signinum with inset tesserae of varying sizes and shapes arranged in a random pattern within the signinum surface. Several cracks deriving from bomb damage to the west were visible in the floor surface, which was found to overlay churned early ‘interplinian eruptive deposits’ and natural soils (cf. supra). Clearly the creation of this floor and its associated walls involved the cutting back of this material, or the removal of any pre-existing features in this area.
To the south, Room β was situated at the same elevation as Room α, and was also outfitted with a less robust opus signinum floor exhibiting tesserae inset in rows. The room itself was probably originally bordered on the south by the southern property boundary in opus africanum ‘A’ visible on the south side of Room 7 and recovered at depth in a sondage to the east of this room. On the west, it was bounded by a wall in opus africanum with a narrow doorway that originally opened into the main hall of the Casa di Cipius Pamphilus Felix on the west. The room continued to the east at least as far as the later peristyle of the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus as was documented by a sondage undertaken to the east of the doorway into Room 7. The same pavement was found to continue east, clearly distinguished by the presence and correct spacing of the particular pattern of inset white tesserae in straight rows. This pavement was largely intact, though clearly damaged by the creation of a wall across its surface in a later phase that was itself partially removed, and originally seems to have lipped first up and then down against the southern wall, possibly forming a shallow gully against the wall surface for an as yet unknown purpose. Similar to the floor in Room α, the flooring in Room β was found generally to rest on top of the earliest deposits. However, in one area it ran over the traces of even earlier activities described in Phase 2 above.
Separating the northern room (α) from the southern room (β) was an opus incertum wall that aligned neatly with the layout Casa di Pamphilus Felix and had two phases of plaster preserved on both sides to a depth of roughly 50-60cm. Shock waves from the bombing to the west of this wall were also clearly visible in the plaster which had cracked from this strain, but had for the most part remained attached to the wall surface. Both layers of plaster on each side of the wall came down on top of the flooring, clearly representing the initial phase of decoration and a subsequent period of redecoration. Room α was initially plastered with an illusionistic design possibly imitating black marble, with some indications of a red border or possibly a red upper zone. Room β was decorated with a yellow-ochre plaster without further visible elaboration.
Black gloss pottery sherds from the sub-floor of the opus signinum in the southern room (β), suggest that the two rooms were created at a period after 200-150 BC. It is possible that this occurred during an extensive period of building on the western side of the Insula, as has been suggested by walls analysis and is described in our recent publication.14 This would coordinate well with the creation of the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus itself, which also was constructed after about the middle of the 2nd c. BC. Certainly Rooms α and β appear to have been an addition to the earlier form of the structure, since they were created in a different masonry style (opus incertum), though notably reusing a doorway that was probably already present in Phase 3 (cf. supra). Similar changes seem to have occurred utilizing a nearly identical mortar and employing similar building stones in the Casa della Diana, which would have also involved the creation of the underground bath suite and much of the later structure of the house. Excavations undertaken in the garden of this house also recovered a pavement of opus signinum with white tessellated decoration15 that might also suggest that the properties were connected and decorated in a coordinated scheme at the time of the creation of Rooms α and β. It is tempting to compress these changes into a single phase of reconstruction, taking the extension of the rooms in the Casa di Cipius Pamphilus Felix to the east as a component of redecoration in Room 29, and the addition of extensive luxuries to the Casa della Diana. In general, these alterations appear to belong to the same widespread period of expansion and building in the block between the mid-2nd century and the years immediately prior to the implantation of the Roman Colony in 80 BC. Such an interpretation would complicate somewhat the sequence presented by Luzon et al., who divide the Casa della Diana and the Casa di Cipius Pamphilus Felix into only two phases, sequencing the division of the properties together with the rebuilding of the Casa della Diana and its underground bath suite to a moment between the 1st c. BC and 1st c. AD.16 Instead, from our findings, it appears that the two houses were combined in the mid-2nd c. BC, possibly from separate original parts, and remained connected until roughly the period of Augustus or Tiberius (cf. infra). Presumably, the Second Style decoration found within Room 29 of the Casa di Cipius Pamphilus Felix represents a separate period of decoration that was not reflected in Rooms α or β, since it is not possible to assign any of the plasters from these rooms to this particular painting style. At the same time, it is clear that the flooring in the central hall (Room 22) of the Casa di Cipius Pamphilus Felix is associated with the period during which this house was separated from the Casa della Diana. It is therefore likely that the flooring in Room 22 was replaced at a later date, but designed to match pre-existing floors in the rest of the structure. Since there is no longer any direct connection between the floors recovered in AA006 and further connections are obscured throughout the rest of the Casa di Cipius Pamphilus Felix by modern build-up, this matter must be resolved at a future date with additional excavation and cleaning.
Phase 5 – Redecoration in Rooms α and β
Considerable changes were undertaken to Rooms α and β at a point likely in the middle of the 1st c. BC. The changes served to provide each with a new wall plaster and separated the northern area of Room β off in order to transform it into a kitchen or similar service room. In the first step of this process, the fine, tessellated floor in Room β was cut through with at least two large holes, seemingly intended to hold large posts. It is possible that these posts were temporary supports in order to permit a change to the roof structure for the provision of a smoke stack or opening for ventilation over the new cooking surface. These cuts only partially penetrated the sub-floor, implying that the situation was temporary and the work was executed haphazardly. A layer of mortar was found in various parts of the room at this level, possibly related to securing the posts and then left in place after they had been removed. At the same time, the doorway that had opened to the west was sealed with a fill of opus incertum and a new wall was constructed, also in opus incertum, dividing the room on the southern side and producing a much smaller space. The northern area of the floor then received the placement of an opus signinum platform, approximately 7cm in height with a bevelled edge, possibly intended to hold a brazier or to form a low cooking platform. The rest of the flooring, including the post holes and various elements of mortar then seem to have been left in place as the working surface of this now rather humble room. Cooking is also suggested by the ashy charcoal layer that appears to have built up in the post-holes and over the floor surface after the removal of the posts. The final activity was to coat the previously yellow plaster with a coarse layer of white plaster that survived on the south, west and northern walls. This white plaster ran down and over at least some of the charcoal deposits and mortar, suggesting that it occurred after the area had already begun to function as a cooking space. It is unclear how one entered this new room, but since the eastern extent of room β has yet to be uncovered, it may have been from this direction. At the same time, scaring on the floor surface in alignment with the new southern wall recovered from beneath the peristyle of the Casa of Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus might imply a rough threshold or entrance through this area, which would imply an entrance on the south. The remainder of Room β to the south of the new wall remain obscured, but it would have constituted a very narrow space. Scars in the wall in Room 27 of the Casa di Cipius Pamphilus Felix to the west suggest that it may have been transformed into a corridor that could have provided access to the room from its southern side or at least connected rooms or areas further to the east with the now-isolated central hall.
Probably at roughly the same time or shortly thereafter, Room α to the north was redecorated with a new plaster, applied directly to the underlying plaster seemingly without roughening or other preparation. The new plaster was painted red and has not preserved any further details that might permit the identification of a particular style. The red paint does, however, mirror the coarse red middle zone on the western wall of Room 29 in the Casa di Cipius Pamphilus Felix and it is possible that it should be seen as an extremely cursory Third Style, perhaps having lost any surface detail in the course of later activities or exposure. Such an attribution, though very tentative, could plausibly suit the date when these activities appear to have taken place.
Phase 6 – Incorporation into the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus, First Phase
At a point after the beginning of the reign of Tiberius, Rooms α and β began to undergo a sequence of alterations, in which these rooms were eventually separated off from the Casa di Pamphilus Felix to become incorporated into the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus. Since the floor level of the northern extent of the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus was at a much higher elevation than the Casa di Cipius Pamphilus Felix, it was necessary to raise the floor levels by roughly a metre in order to facilitate this annexation. The first step appears to have been to rebuild the westernmost wall of Room β in opus incertum, generally following the line of the previous western wall of this Room. This probably at first involved simply the filling in of the corridor to the south of Room β (if one had indeed been created in the previous phase). After this had been completed, another wall was created on the east running north to south directly over and occasionally cutting through the opus signinum surfaces of room β. This wall also cut the earlier southern boundary wall in order to connect with the western boundary wall of the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus situated further to the south. It is certain that the final phase doorway in the north-south wall leading into Room 7 was not initially present, since the wall continued at depth beneath the current threshold. It is possible that the entrance was located roughly a metre to the north where a clear vertical cut in the masonry may indicate the presence of an earlier doorway. The space once occupied by Room β was then filled with a diverse rubble fill that included a variety of materials seeming to have derived from general domestic detritus, including animal bone in quantity, pottery, and small finds in copper alloy, plausibly from broken wooden furniture, several fragments of which may have been included in the initial levels of the fill. Just outside of the newly created Room 7 was found a fragmented layer of red opus signinum overlying a levelling layer. However, similar flooring was not recovered from within Room 7, where there was instead a solid packed earthen layer overlying rubble and debris used to raise the floor level. The new north-south running wall was then decorated with a relatively rustic plaster that appears to have been repeated inside Room 7 as well – appropriate decoration for the storage or service function that appears to have been the intended first use of the room.
The transfer of space in the insula between the Casa di Cipius Pamphilus Felix and the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus attests to an interesting shift in fortunes between the respective house owners. A similar conclusion may be drawn from the separation of the Casa di Cipius Pamphilus Felix from the Casa della Diana, a transition that, according to our study of the wall fabrics, mortars, and building styles, also appears to have occurred at roughly the same moment. The use of opus vittatum mixtum in the construction of the dividing wall is consistent with the date of the changes documented by our excavations, and supports the sequence suggested above. Certainly, the subdivision and loss of space in the Casa di Cipius Pamphilus Felix would appear to attest to difficult financial decisions on the part of the house owner, which may only partially have been compensated for by the creation of new rooms in the southern half of the property. Certainly, the loss of the apparent kitchen in Room β could appear to have been addressed by the creation of kitchen on the southern side of the property at Room 33.
Phase 6a – Second Phase of Annexation, Final Lavapesto, Peristyle, Decoration
At a moment sufficiently close to the completion of the first floors to provide virtually identical pottery dates, Room α was also annexed by the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus. Perhaps this change occurred as few as 10-20 years later, suggesting a continued shift in economic fortune between the property owners. The second phase of renovation involved the annexation of Room α from the Casa di Cipius Pamphilus Felix and the creation of a peristyle at the back of the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus, a feature the property previously had lacked. The first change involved in this transition appears to have been the creation of a new doorway just to the south of the original entrance. The wall was punctured by a hole that could have damaged and largely removed most of the earlier red opus signinum flooring in the area. Two threshold pivot stones in lava were then inserted into either side of the opening and fixed in place with a yellowish mortar. At the same time the original opening was sealed with an extension of the north-south wall that ran directly into and over the southern wall of Room α, breaking through the wall and creating a new corner in opus vittatum of Sarno stone blocks. This was so that the eastern side of the wall could be removed to create space for the portico of the planned peristyle, while the western portion of the wall could be retained as the northern wall of Room 7. Finally, a low wall in opus incertum was built to a limited height as the base or stylobate for a series of columns intended to form the western wing of the peristyle. Clearly, the builders felt that these columns needed to have considerable support as the build of the stylobate is relatively substantial, but it is interesting to note that the previous flooring was not cut (as was the case for the parallel wall to its west). The top layer of mortar on the stylobate was then inscribed with rough circles marking the location of the intended columns.
The columns were created in brick and then completed with white plaster exteriors, a relatively rustic plaster. Once these new walls and peristyle had been completed, the area that once had been occupied by Room α was also filled up to the level of the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus peristyle. Material from the eastern half of the wall formerly dividing Rooms α and β was used to fill up the depth of the room. Excavation produced a thick layer of rubble and plaster that clearly derived from the wall itself, and permitting the partial reconstruction of the decoration of the two earlier phases of decoration as described above. Large chunks of masonry, with plaster yet attached were also recovered from the fill.
The final floor surface, which overlies the top of the stylobate wall and runs directly against the plaster on the columns, was a lavapesto with inset tessellated decoration in linear patterns. While only partially preserved, the decoration clearly appears to have highlighted the edge of the peristyle itself. Utilizing the eastern side of the stylobate, and prior to the pouring of the final surface, a curved gutter was created, sloping very gradually towards the south where photos and plans from the original excavations of the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus indicate the location of a cistern head. That the gutter was originally painted blue is evident from traces of this colouration visible along its length. Plastering of the eastern face of the east wall of Room 7 was executed such that the paint and plaster came down directly onto the final lavapesto surface. This plaster probably complimented or continued the garden design with sphinx fountains also shown in photos taken at the time of the original excavation.17
The further annexation of Room α from the Casa di Cipius Pamphilus Felix suggests the continuation of the economic decline of this property, while attesting to the expansion and probable economic prosperity of the owner of the Casa di Tyrannus Secundus. It is also important to note that the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus does not seem to have been originally outfitted with a peristyle, and that the provision of this feature only became a possibility during the period of the early Principate. Furthermore, it is extremely likely that the impetus for this new addition was the creation of the Great Cistern on the eastern side of the Insula. The eastern rooms of the peristyle, including the large triclinium (Room 9), were clearly constructed after this municipal building had interrupted the previous arrangement of the Insula. As suggested by our previous excavations in the south-eastern corner of the Insula, the Great Cistern may be inferred to have been built during the Augustan period. The construction of a new peristyle to the west of this would therefore appear to be an opportunistic move on the part of the owner of the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus to occupy new space created by the destruction of previous properties in this municipal building project. Our excavations also suggested that the row of tufo di Nocera fronted shops associated with the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus had been created in about 80 BC. This might therefore also provide a reason for the rise in prosperity evident in the property of the owner roughly 100 years later. Perhaps it was the profits from shops selling to customers of the Terme del Foro that ultimately served to finance the peristyle and territorial annexations of the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus. It may even be that the atrium of the house was redecorated at the same time, as suggested by the continuation of lavapesto flooring in the area of the atrium itself.18
Phase 7 – Later Additions? Red Cocciopesto, Drain
It seems likely that the lavapesto flooring and peristyle in the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus represent the final phase of major expansion, decoration, and construction, and remained in use until the years immediately prior to the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. Traces of a red opus signinum were found overlying the lavapesto towards the southern end of the trench, but this was recovered in only one small area and it is difficult to see this as representing another phase of flooring that once stretched across the whole peristyle. It is likely that this represents a fragment of a base for fitting for a large dolium, visible in early photos of the peristyle that was situated in roughly this location.19 The precise purpose of this dolium is completely unknown, especially since it was found to contain fragments of broken plaster in the 2nd Style, which are now in the Museo Nazionale di Napoli.20 Perhaps it had something to do with the renovations discussed below, and the 2nd Style wall painting may have been recovered by the builders themselves during these activities.
A second feature added to the lavapesto is a shallow drain, running from a down-pipe in the western wall and connecting to the gully of the peristyle. Clearly this drain was intended to augment the collection of water in the cistern, or to help to evacuate water from a roofing feature now lost, but there are no signs that the peristyle or its roofing arrangement in the area had been changed at this time. Instead, it is likely that this new down-pipe was designed to collect water from a new roofing arrangement in the next-door Casa di Petutius Quintio, (VII 6, 30.37)21 likely in response to changes produced by the addition of a second storey in the final years of that property. It is clear that the drain was created after the lavapesto, since fragments of the lavapesto floor, probably deriving from the cut necessary for the creation of the drain, were found used in the patching of the wall scar formed from the insertion of a new down-pipe. It is unclear whether this feature was ever completed, since no top surface or capping survived in AA006. It is therefore possible that both the red opus-signinum traces and the drain were projects partially underway at the time of the eruption of Vesuvius. Certainly, that the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus was in the process of considerable restorations at the time of the eruption is documented by the final stage of transformations in Room 7.
The final phase of changes recovered from our excavations in AA006 related to the final years of the city and alterations that were in place at some point after the reign of Claudius, and appear to have not yet been completed by the time of the eruption. While it is impossible at present to be certain that these renovations were the result of the earthquake(s) of AD 62 and following years, this remains a very strong possibility. Additional complications are caused by the fact that these deposits were amongst the first encountered beneath modern levels and had at least partially been disturbed by modern debris, especially those caused by the bombing of the Insula in 1943 and the associated neatening of fallen walls and destroyed material during the 50s and 60s. The internal consistency, not only of the dates provided, but the nature of the deposits themselves, however, makes the interpretation presented here extremely likely.
At a point in time probably during the reign of Nero, Room 7 of the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus was altered significantly. Previously, it appears to have functioned as a type of closet, conceivably for storage or light service functions. Due to damage caused by bombing, it is now impossible to know whether a window in the wall was originally present as early plans seem to indicate, but it is likely that traces possibly interpreted as such by previous researchers are in fact the result of the changes in the wall discussed above. The first changes effected in Room 7 involved a cut through the earthen floors in the room, especially on the northern side. This was a very superficial cut, forming a sort of shallow basin and was found filled with a thin layer of lime, plausibly the result of lime slaking and the production of ‘fat lime’22 appropriate for building. This lime ran up and over the top of the earlier surface, which was found to include a stone fitting with a square depression in its top surface, possibly designed to hold a component of the workings related to this activity, or potentially a relic of the room’s previous use.
It is unclear how long this period of slaking took place in the room, but it certainly created deposits that ran up against the walls and involved the dragging out of lime towards the doorway of Room 7. At a point after this, possibly when the quick lime that had been used for slaking had been exhausted, the room underwent a further series of modifications. A thickening of the wall on the eastern side of the room in opus incertum was created, and a block of Sarno stone was placed roughly over the same course as the wall that had first transformed Room β into a kitchen. A thick, coarse mortar floor was then poured over the southern part of the room, filling against this Sarno stone and scraped down carefully against the remaining lavapesto toward the threshold of the doorway. The floor formed an angle between the Sarno stone and the wall thickening that must have been formed with a temporary mould, probably constructed of wood. The reason for the thickening appears to have been to create a spring point for a low vault that may have been further supported by the slight lean of the western wall forming the opposing side of the vault. The raising of the level of the southern part of the room meant that the rest of the north, and notably that around the area of the thickening, was a crude basin, lined with lime residue. The end result of these changes was therefore a feature similar to that found in the back room of the Casa del Sacello Iliaco (I 6, 4) that has generally been interpreted as a lime kiln. In AA006, such an attribution is supported by the recovery of a very large number of marble fragments in the debris associated with this feature, found to be overlying a heavy layer of lime (possibly not yet slaked lime powder), that filled the basin and had been dragged out over the top of the Sarno stone and mortar floor in the direction of the doorway. This area of the doorway also demonstrated considerable wear and tear, plausibly caused by rake or hoe, the implement generally associated with lime slaking and production.23
Amongst the marble recovered were small surfaced fragments, clearly deriving from revetment or floors, very similar to those found decorating numerous bars in Pompeii and other Roman sites. Many of these marbles were imported; giallo antico, rosso africano, porta santa, as well as probably Parian and Luna marbles are all well represented. In addition, there were fragments from broken marble entablatures, probable statue bases, and a badly damaged fragment of a club, likely to have once belonged to a small statue of Hercules. The condition of most of these fragments implies the hoarding of damaged fragments from structures destroyed in the earthquake(s) of the years following AD 62, having been collected in order to be burnt in the makeshift kiln and transformed into lime for rebuilding. At least one fragment of marble from this collection showed clear signs of already having been burnt. In addition to the marbles, a number of nearly complete pottery vessels, a considerable amount of glass, and large fragments of charcoal were recovered from the deposit immediately overlying the lime dust. It is conceivable that these had been collected as a component or result of these construction activities, or that they had been placed in this room after the initial excavation and were pressed into the lime by the build-up of modern debris, bombing, and clean-up.
Phase 9 - Modern
The modern period also witnessed considerable change in the area of AA006. After final clearance of the eruption debris in 1910, the area was left open to the elements. In 1943, as is well-known, the area was bombed heavily, with two impact locations brushing against the edges of AA006, on the western side and at the north-east corner of the trench. The final phase property division between the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus and the Casa di Cipius Pamphilus Felix was hit, and when it fell over towards the west it created a deep crater on the western side of the trench. In addition, shock waves seem to have fractured the floors in both areas and created similar cracks in the wall that had separated them.
AA006 - Interpretations
Excavations in AA006 have provided interesting stratigraphic data from the very centre of Insula VII 6. The evolution of the block over time, the interrelationships between changes observed in AA006 and those already noted in our previous work in AA001, and the study of the sequence of walls in the Insula as a whole, have provided an even firmer framework for our observations. It is clear that the area of AA006 underwent a significant series of often quite dramatic changes in ownership, use, and orientation that reveal much about the changing economic situations of the families that lived in the four major properties intersecting in this area.
Finds Processing, Ecofacts and Pottery Analysis
Excavation in AA006 was paired with concurrent processing, analysis, recording, and study of all artefacts recovered. The 2012 season saw the complete cleaning, documentation, and preparation for study of all materials produced by the excavation of AA006. The team handled 60.66 kilograms of pottery during the field season and processed all 315 diagnostic sherds. Each sherd was analysed, drawn, and weighed. With the exception of nine samples remaining, all soils from AA006 have been floated using the bucket flotation method.
3D Topographic Survey of AA006, the Terme del Foro
Total Station survey in 2012 was dominated by the creation of a full, 3D wire-frame model of AA006, which contained numerous features vital to the completion of the topographic survey of Insula VII 6, including a number of walls present at the original excavations but not surveyed using modern methods. These included the columns of the peristyle of the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus, the water collection gully, and walls partially lost in the bombing of 1943. The survey was also intended to form the framework for the 3D Data collection using Structure from Motion technologies (cf. infra). A small section of the northern end of the Terme del Foro was also brought into the topographic survey of Insula VII 6 since it has become apparent that the layout and creation of this structure had great influence on the development of Insula VII 6 itself. All surveyed areas were connected to previous models and are geo-referenced via connection to the geodetic points placed by the SAP throughout Pompeii. As in previous seasons, a Leica TCR805power Total Station was used in combination with a Leica GMP111-0 Mini Prism to conduct these surveying tasks. All measurements were taken in either Reflectorless Standard or Infrared Fine mode.
3D Data Collection
Excavation in AA006 was carried out with complete recording of every excavated deposit in 3D at a sub-centimetric level of accuracy. Each stratigraphic unit was recorded using Structure from Motion (SfM) technologies to extract millions of 3D points and colour information from an unordered series of photographs. After processing during the autumn of 2012, these will be coordinated into a model of the trench, including all surfaces of each deposit, wall, feature and pavement, permitting a complete reconstruction of the entire excavation. The Via Consolare Project has already successfully employed this technique in walls recording, as well as the final season of excavation in AA001. The use of these technologies for the entirety of AA006 makes this trench the first in Pompeii to be recorded in its entirety to such a degree of accuracy, and will hopefully begin to form the model for all sub-surface excavations in the city. The resulting points of 3D clouds of data are manipulated with MeshLab, software designed specifically for cultural heritage projects by the University of Pisa, and developed with the support of 3D-CoForm Project. Structure from motion calculations are performed on project computers employing free, open source software and without compromising the intellectual property of the SAP. Mesh results are coordinated within the wire-frame survey produced via Total Station survey, which provides the appropriate scaling and geo-referencing data for the production of a complete 3D model.
Overall, the excavations in AA006 have revealed much regarding the development of the central area of Insula VII 6, especially concerning the interactions of three properties in the area: the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus, the Casa di Cipius Pamphilus Felix, and the Casa della Diana. While the earliest traces of activity in the area could not be exposed in sufficient area to be easily explicable, nevertheless, they appear to testify to rather early activities, possibly dating to a similar horizon as other ‘pappamonte’ phase features, and possibly pre-dating the final stage of interplinian eruptions that may have occurred during the period of quasi-abandonment or reduction suggested by Coarelli for the 5th c. ‘gap’ in Pompeian evidence. Whilst at the moment, we have been unable to provide solid dating evidence for the earliest traces of masonry structure in the Casa di Cipius Pamphilus Felix, the discoveries of much more extensive areas of the house to the east and underlying the later garden area of the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus provide the hope that it may be possible to achieve this goal next year with further excavation. Furthermore, the discovery of a suite of rooms to the east of the supposed end of the Casa di Cipius Pamphilus Felix, even whilst connected to the Casa della Diana, suggest that the previous understandings of this area and the relationship between all three structures have been overly simplified. Extremely likely connections between the expansion of the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus and the construction of the Great Cistern, potentially financed by profits generated by guests of the Terme del Foro at the range of tufo facade shops along the south east corner of the block, also serve to explain and document the processes and chronology of the urban transformation of Insula VII 6 during the 1st c. AD. The decline in fortune of the Casa di Cipius Pamphilus Felix may ultimately help to clarify why it should have been modified little enough throughout its existence to preserve walls and wall paintings in such early styles. Finally, the lavapesto peristyle of the Casa di Secundus Tyrannus Fortunatus that had previously been only cursorily recorded, the surveying of columns in order to complete our modern topographic survey of the Insula, and information on the installation of lime-slaking and possibly even lime burning facilities, provide valuable data about the disposition and use of the property in the years after the earthquake(s) of AD 62. Overall, this season’s excavation, survey, analysis of finds, and ongoing study of the preserved wall fabric has provided an important and revealing glimpse into the development of Insula VII 6 and its changes over time. In turn, these changes inform observations that may be made about Pompeian society, economy, and social organisation from the 3rd c. BC until the 1st c. AD. While a number of questions have been resolved by our work this year, a number of new and important questions have been generated. What was the original eastern extent of the Casa di Cipius Pamphilus Felix? Do more now-buried, earlier-phase rooms lie to the north of the area we excavated in AA006? Did the house exist as a separate property prior to being combined with the Casa della Diana, only to later be separated again? Are more archaic-period remains in pappamonte available for study within these areas? Was the ‘Great Cistern’ really constructed as late as the Augustan or even Tiberian period? The Via Consolare Project plans to undertake further archaeological investigations in the summer of 2013 in order to address some of these questions.
As always, we remain deeply indebted to the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei, Prof.ssa Cinquantaquattro, Dott. Antonio Varone and Dott.ssa Greta Stefani, and extend our warmest thanks for their kind and continued support and encouragement in our research activities. Our work could not have been done without their aid, especially Dott. Varone’s unflagging vigilance and patient assistance. In addition, we owe much to Vincenzo Sabini in particular for sharing his deep knowledge of the city, extensive library, and for helping us to coordinate many aspects of our research. We also owe a debt of gratitude to Peppe di Martino, who, even in retirement, has continued to assist our work and have a tremendous influence on research on ancient Pompeii. We would also like to thank Ernesta Rizzo, whose hard work, knowledge, and organisation has consistently helped the Project in countless ways. Finally, we wish to thank all the staff of Bar Sgambati and of Camping Zeus for their ongoing generosity and friendship toward the Via Consolare Project since its inception.
1. PAH I 131, 144ff, II 147 III 10, 226; GdS N.S. 2. (1873): 427f; Fiorelli 1875: 436; NdS (1910): 463ff; Schefold 1957: 160; Laidlaw 1985: 257.
2. Eschebach 1993: 298; PAH I 128ff; BdI 1841: 118f; NdS 1910: 446ff.; Schefold 1957: 191; Laidlaw 1985: 255ff; PPP III 186f.
3. Peterse 2007: 377, both give a range of c. 450 BC – c. 420 BC for “Typus A” construction. The interior wall within the Casa di Cipius Pamphilus Felix, though logically connected with the construction of the façade is not specifically mentioned in Peterse’s dating, but displays the same typological characteristics.
4. Anderson, M., C.Weiss, et. al. 2012.
7. Likely similar to that found by Bonghi Jovino in Insula VI 5 cf. Bonghi Jovino, M. (ed.) 1988., and in the Casa degli Epigrammi Greci (VI 1, 18). cf. Staub Gierow, M. (2008).
8. Descœudres, J.-P. 2007: 15.
9. Coarelli 2008; cf. also Zevi 1991.
11. Eschebach 1993: 293; PAH I 114f, 122, 125f; BdI (1841): 118; NdS 1885: 49; NdS 1910: 377ff, 436ff, 455f; Schefold 1957: 189; Laidlaw 1985: 255ff; PPP III 152.
12. Laidlaw 1985: 255-256, Pernice 1938: 153, Blake, 1930: 138f.
13. Pernice, 1938: 153, PPM Volume 7: 217.
14. Anderson, M., C., Weiss, et. al. 2012.
15. María Luzón Nogué, Carmen Alonso Rodríguez, Castillo Ramírez, García Sánchez, Mañas Romero, Salcedo Garcés et al. to between the 1st c. BC-1st c. AD, (cf. http://www.dianaarcaizante.com/#/fases_constructivas/) but such a date is not supported by our analyses.
16. This activity has been dated by María Luzón Nogué, Carmen Alonso Rodríguez, Castillo Ramírez, García Sánchez, Mañas Romero, Salcedo Garcés et al. to between the 1st c. BC-1st c. AD.
17. Spano 1910, Garcia y Garcia 2006.
18. Plan in Pompei 1748-1980 : i Tempi della Documentazione. 1981. Istituto centrale per il catalogo e la documentazione. Rome: Multigrafica Editrice.
19. PPM Volume 7: 189-190.
21. Fiorelli 1875: 437, NdS 1910: 481ff. Schefold 1957: 191; PPP III 154ff.
22. Adam. J.-P. 1994. 67-76.
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